Sherwood goalkeeper Max Warren did not play a single minute during the regular season because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. One doctor suggested Warren have surgery and possibly end his career. But another said his injury couldn't get any worse, so he could play in the postseason if he could endure the pain.
Now, the Warriors have Warren's high threshold for pain to thank for their second straight Maryland 4A boys' soccer championship.
Warren made three saves and forward Pat Young scored in the 33rd minute to lift ninth-ranked Sherwood to a 1-0 victory Saturday night in the Maryland 4A championship game at UMBC.
It was the Warriors' second consecutive 4A state championship and the program's sixth boys' soccer title.
"We have a great defense," Warren said. "They made me look good, I guess."
Sherwood goalkeeper Ryan Hock decided not to play the position after the regular season for personal reasons, so Coach Hector Morales Jr. turned to Young. Warren, however, knew the team needed Young, the team's leading scorer, at his normal striker position. After a second opinion revealed that Warren wouldn't do any further damage to his knee by playing, he stepped in and performed brilliantly.
Warren, a senior, did not allow a goal in five playoff games -- four of which Sherwood won by scores of 1-0. Sherwood (15-3-1) finished the season with eight straight shutouts.
"He's been the difference in many of those games with the saves he's had to make and the positions that we've put ourselves in," Morales said of Warren. "He has saved our butts quite a few times."
Broadneck finished 15-3-1.
Young gave the Warriors defense the cushion it needed late in the first half. With the ball near the top right side of the penalty area, Young played a low cross into open space, which Warriors midfielder Jeffery Juarez ran down. Juarez took two touches and, when Broadneck defenders converged on him, passed back to Young.
Standing about 12 yards from the right post, Young struck a hard, low shot with the inside of his right foot. The ball hit the Broadneck goalkeeper's foot, shot up into the air with topspin and floated across the goal line.
"I was pretty scared of [playing goalkeeper]," Young said. "I'm just glad Max was able to step up and not allow a goal the whole playoffs."